Alia, Ranveer Walk for Manish Malhotra in a Muted ‘Sensual Affair’

Manish Malhotra rethinks the Indian wedding, with Alia and Ranveer, but trips at the seventh step.

Published31 Jul 2017, 08:08 AM IST
Fashion
4 min read

A grey bride at a winter wedding? I watched Manish Malhotra’s latest collection with bursts of excitement and a flicker of hope that we may have just about seen the end of the tropical avalanche of fuchsia, purple and red that flows through every Desi wedding. If you can get male strippers to a bachelorette bash, you certainly can ditch the reds and maroons. Grey, white, black, beige – Malhotra seemed to be bringing verve and an urban temperament to that hangman’s altar of our lives... erm, I mean aesthetics.

Manish Malhotra seemed all set to reimagine the Indian Wedding; but then tripped at the seventh step. At the end of the show, he declared.

For this collection I wanted to focus on events like sangeet, mehendi and cocktail
Manish Malhotra, Fashion Designer

Perhaps we will have to wait some more to see brides taking pheras in exquisite greys and whites and blues.

The question that is begging to be asked is why have even the top designers of the country shied away from pushing the envelope?

Alia, Ranveer Walk for Manish Malhotra in a Muted ‘Sensual Affair’
(Photo Courtesy: FDCI/Manish Malhotra Team) 

When Alia Bhatt and Ranveer Singh walked the ramp for the closing show at India Couture Week 2017, the Delhi audience went into a tizzy. Malhotra, a Bollywood favourite, wouldn’t have found it too difficult to get the high-energy duo to showcase his creations. Similarly, he wouldn’t have broken a sweat in creating his latest collection – called ‘Sensual Affair’. It was perhaps Malhotra at his safest.

Drama and frills come naturally to Malhotra. While this largely monochrome collection, with an overwhelming presence of champagne hues, was aesthetically pleasing, it lacked newness. As against his 2016 collection, The Persian Story. there were hardly any new cuts or silhouettes.

Is the fashion Czar of Bollywood getting complacent?
Alia, Ranveer Walk for Manish Malhotra in a Muted ‘Sensual Affair’
(Photo Courtesy: FDCI/Manish Malhotra Team) 

Malhotra’s love for beads and sequins was on display once again, as he created drama with an opulence of tulle, lace and embroidery.

Fringes, feathery and beaded blouses and padded shoulders on gowns were reminiscent of 70s fashion. Long trains of the ubiquitous lehenga and the spartan dupattas drew on the Christian bridal-wear. Malhotra’s magic wand turned Cinderella into Chandni with ease.

Western influences were neatly blended with the Indian style sensibility.

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    (Photo Courtesy: FDCI/Manish Malhotra Team) 
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    (Photo Courtesy: FDCI/Manish Malhotra Team) 
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    (Photo Courtesy: FDCI/Manish Malhotra Team) 
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    (Photo Courtesy: FDCI/Manish Malhotra Team) 

While Malhotra celebrated the individuality of cut and colour, he did so only in a safe operating zone, the pre- and the post wedding events. It is easy to go grey, white, and even black in spaces where tradition didn’t have a choke-hold to start with.

Alia, Ranveer Walk for Manish Malhotra in a Muted ‘Sensual Affair’
(Photo Courtesy: FDCI/Manish Malhotra Team) 
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    (Photo Courtesy: FDCI/Manish Malhotra Team) 
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    (Photo Courtesy: FDCI/Manish Malhotra Team) 
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    (Photo Courtesy: FDCI/Manish Malhotra Team) 
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    (Photo Courtesy: FDCI/Manish Malhotra Team) 
Malhotra’s reds came ensconced between the greys, as if apologising for their very existence.

Yes, it is high time red was held accountable for its monopoly over the Indian wedding. Noyonika Chatterjee’s ensemble made it abundantly clear that the trend of garish overload of red needs to go if the colour hopes to stay relevant. Full marks to Malhotra for that.

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    (Photo Courtesy: FDCI/Manish Malhotra Team) 
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    (Photo Courtesy: FDCI/Manish Malhotra Team) 
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    (Photo Courtesy: FDCI/Manish Malhotra Team) 
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    (Photo Courtesy: FDCI/Manish Malhotra Team) 
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    (Photo Courtesy: FDCI/Manish Malhotra Team) 

It is these subtle revolutions that pumped up my hopes higher than Alia Bhatt’s heels. Maybe the trendsetting designer is raring to go for a radical makeover of the Indian bride who is getting bolder by the day. Malhotra’s designs for Bollywood, both onscreen and offscreen, have set trends. Should he not have, then, flexed his muscle and said, “Enough! Let’s recalibrate our reds and get our brides to say “I do” in colours and cuts that make them stand tall, minus the excruciating pain that comes with high heels and, most importantly, boredom”?

Alia, Ranveer Walk for Manish Malhotra in a Muted ‘Sensual Affair’
(Photo Courtesy: FDCI/Manish Malhotra Team) 

Is it the market that governs even the highest rated couturier’s aesthetics?

The fear that a turquoise or an olive lehenga may not find many takers appears to be at the heart of the restraint that Malhotra, and many others in his league, seem to exercise while creating wedding ensembles.

Let alone stopping Indian fashion from taking the much awaited leap into the global scene, this restraint is what keeps it from having a clearly defined, and distinct, modern Indian sense of sartorial beauty.

This restraint is unfounded, especially for somebody like Malhotra. The man, after all, has been dressing up the most powerful cultural institution – the Hindi film industry, of the country. He’s well positioned to bring a style revolution: if only he would bare his fangs.
Alia, Ranveer Walk for Manish Malhotra in a Muted ‘Sensual Affair’
(Photo Courtesy: FDCI/Manish Malhotra Team) 

He got Ranveer Singh, the poster boy of sartorial iconoclasm, to walk for him. This was Malhotra’s moment which he sadly squandered in favour of caution. During their post-event banter, Alia revealed how “Manish would rein Ranveer in” while the latter moon-walked and went characteristically crazy during the fittings. She said Ranveer wanted to let out all his “bhadaas during the rehearsals” since he was supposed to behave in his showstopper avatar on the ramp.

Bollywood hasn’t earned much laurels in the department of the freedom of spirit. What better person to point out that the emperor has no clothes than the modiste himself, you leave wondering. If only Malhotra could be the one.

(We all love to express ourselves, but how often do we do it in our mother tongue? Here's your chance! This Independence Day, khul ke bol with BOL – Love your Bhasha. Sing, write, perform, spew poetry – whatever you like – in your mother tongue. Send us your BOL at bol@thequint.com or WhatsApp it to 9910181818.)

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